CUTTING just 250 calories from your diet each day could help you to live longer, experts have claimed.
Most of us love to snack but removing just one of these and adding more exercise has now been proven to improve heart health in obese older adults.
Eating a healthy balanced diet and cutting out one snack a day could help the health of older adults
You can’t get that much for 250 calories, but on average this equates to a packet of plain crisps and a can of cola.
On average a can on cola, depending on the brand, can be anything from 100-140 calories and crisps, again depending on brand, can be anything from 100-140 calories.
If you’re a lover of sweet treats then you would have to cut out these, or at least cut them down to an occasional treat.
Products like donuts and muffins have around 400 calories in, so if you’re looking for a sweet alternative fruit might be a better option.
Doctors in the US looked at data from 160 obese adults who had sedentary lifestyles and who were between the ages of 65-79 years-old.
It’s important to note that everyone in the study was classed as obese – if you are a healthy weight you should maintain this – none of the participants were classed as being at a healthy weight.
Each person was assigned to a different group for 20 weeks.
Cutting down your snacks could help improve heart health in older adultsCredit: Getty
People in group one had to exercise, but would eat their regular diet, those in group two had to exercise plus moderate calorie restriction, a reduction of approximately 250 calories/day and those in group three had to exercise plus more intensive calorie restriction (reduction of 600 calories a day).
Everyone who participated was given supervised aerobic training and those in the calorie restricted groups received pre-made lunches and dinners with less than 30 per cent of calories from fat and at least 0.8 grams of protein per kg of their ideal body weight.
The participants then had their pulse wave velocity (PWV) measured – the speed at which blood travels through the aorto – the main artery that carries blood away from your heart to the rest of your body.
Vascular health is key and in the UK heart and circulatory diseases cause around a quarter of all deaths.
We all know that what we eat and how much exercise we do can help our heart and that people who are over weight are at greater risk of heart disease.
Tina E. Brinkley lead author of the study and associate professor of gerontology and geriatric medicine at the Sticht Center for Healthy Aging and Alzheimer’s Prevention at Wake Forest School of Medicine explained their findings.
Dr Brinkley said: “Lifestyle changes designed to increase aerobic activity and moderately decrease daily calorie intake may help to reduce aortic stiffness and improve overall vascular health.
“However, we were surprised to find that the group that reduced their calorie intake the most did not have any improvements in aortic stiffness, even though they had similar decreases in body weight and blood pressure as the participants with moderate calorie restriction.”
The experts found that those on a moderately calorie restricted lost at least 10 per cent of their body weight over the five month period.
They stated that weight loss was similar between the calorie-restricted groups despite nearly two times fewer calories (26.7 per cent reduction in calories vs. a 14.2 per cent reduction in calories) in the intensive calorie restriction group.
The study also found that people in the exercise and moderate calorie group had an 8 per cent decrease in their PWV, meaning their arteries were not as stiff.
It also found that BMI (Body mass index) along with fat per centage and waist measurements were greater in the groups restricting their calories – compared to the exercise only groups.
Dr Brinkley explained that the results show that combining exercise with moderate calorie restriction maximises vascular health.
“The finding that higher-intensity calorie restriction may not be necessary or advised has important implications for weight loss recommendations to improve cardiovascular disease risk in older adults with obesity”, she added.